Does your church have money? Is it financially healthy? Does it have the necessary funds to maintain and finance projects? I have observed different attitudes concerning money. It is true that each church has its own history. Nevertheless, each one shows its posture when it comes to finances. Where does your church stand?
An attitude of economics
To be economical with the finances of the church is good up to a certain point. The problem is that in some churches there is an exaggerated moderation concerning the expenses that are essential. When thrift is considered a great virtue we run the risk of giving it a greater value. In the spiritual context exaggerated thrift could become the symbol of avarice or lack of confidence in God. When the church lacks that which it should have, the mentality of the membership develops a mentality as well as a culture of poverty.
An attitude of poverty
An environment of frustration is created and discouragement is presented when a treasurer is confronted with a request and says: "There is no money in the safe." A church might be small, the members humble, but God still places there the necessary funds for its survival. When the need of funds becomes a constant in the congregation, it reveals the weakness of the leaders to provide the necessary means through the plan indicated by God. Each Christian must be a generous person. Ellen G. White underscores in the book Counsels on Stewardship, p. 14, that "The spirit of liberality is the spirit of Christ." It is amazing how God works with a church that has the same spirit.
An attitude of fear
Here we find those church members who give offerings and return the tithe because they are fearful God will punish them if they don't do it. We include here some leaders who administer the church finances with dread and don't investigate in the least how to remodel or build, because they think there will not be enough funds. Do you know of any church that was built with an abundance of funds in the treasury?
An ill-will attitude
Everything we do for God should be done willingly. Some members have not discovered the blessings of being faithful, and continue to contribute financially as an obligation. We need to help them. Ellen G. White says: "It would be better not to give anything than to give grudgingly." - Counsels on Stewardship, p. 199.
An attitude of faith
These churches inspire me. They are generally small and young. Sometimes they lack sufficient means to realize all they wish, but that does not become a hurdle for advancement. Many times they ignore where the means will come from, but they move ahead with their programs and projects. Nothing withholds them. Their members are always united and ready to do their best and the Lord's work grows as if in fertile soil.
An attitude of thankfulness
The members of this church recognize that the Lord is the giver of every good gift. They always find a reason to give of their best to Cod. A church where members and leaders practice the spirit of gratitude, as well as those that maintain an attitude of faith and generosity, are spiritual, happy, and blessed congregations.
What's the attitude of your church? One thing is certain. You, as a spiritual leader, have a great influence on your congregation and the characteristics it develops.
Jonas Arrais is the Associate Ministerial Secretary of the South American Division.
Translated by Antonio A. Rfos.